11 Tools Every Homeowner Needs

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Most carpenters are homeowners, but not all homeowners are carpenters. This article is more for the latter group; a kind of introduction to the essential tools that every homeowner should have access to. If you are looking for specific woodworking tools, this is the list for you. Each tool below features an essential and advanced recommendation, depending on your level of ambition and do-it-yourself budget. Did I lose any tools? Let me know in the comments below!

Tape measure

In all honesty, you’ll probably want to buy a tape measure before you even buy a house. Bring one with you during the walkthrough to make sure all your furniture fits or to confirm the size of a room. I always keep a cheap one with magnetic holder (attached below) on my fridge so I don’t have to dig into the toolbox should the need arise.

Essential: Komelon 10 ‘Touch Lock tape measure

Advanced: STANLEY FATMAX tape measure


Multi-purpose knife

This is pretty self-explanatory – your spouse will be incredibly indifferent when she catches you using a steak knife to break down boxes on the go, and the utility knife will do a better job anyway. I probably own nearly a dozen, and I have one hidden in every toolbox and junk drawer in the house.

Essential: DIYSELF 2Pack utility knife

Advanced: Milwaukee Fastback Folding Utility Knife


Screwdriver set

Almost every appliance or piece of furniture in your home will have screws of some kind. Having a single Phillips and flathead head won’t cut it – at a minimum you’ll want a few different sizes of each and ideally you’ll also have some special bits for more complex or detailed work.

Essential: Craftsman 12 pieces

Advanced: Dewalt 71 pieces


Drill

Unless your name is Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, at some point that screwdriver won’t cut it. This is where a drill comes in. If you don’t know how to use a drill, this is probably a good place to stop reading – it just gets more advanced from here.

Essential: RYOBI ONE + HP 18V screwdriver drill

Advanced: 18 Volt Milwaukee Compact Drill and Impact Driver Combo Kit


Vacuum wet / dry

Perhaps more than any of the items on this list, a wet vacuum could be the biggest lifesaver. I had a friend, after noticing an unpleasant smell on his way to bed, he discovered the sewer drain returning to his basement. Minutes from the filth reaching his newly finished recreation room, he grabbed his wet vacuum and got to work, keeping the water at bay until a plumber came and removed the block. Outside of plumbing emergencies, it’s also perfect for any kind of mess you don’t want to clean up with your cute Dyson.

Essential: Craftsman 9 Gallon Wet / Dry Vac

Advanced: Fein Turbo II X wet / dry dust extractor


Reciprocating saw

I’ll piss off some carpenters here, but I’ll say it: if you only have one saw, it should probably be a reciprocating saw. There is no shortage of uses: demolition, cutting of branches, cutting of wood, cutting of metal and removal of stumps, just to name a few. Once, when I was a recent college graduate and owner of a new home, I even used a reciprocating saw to rip and cross-cut pieces of laminate flooring. This is one area where I’d personally lean towards a cheaper model: I’ve had the same from Harbor Freight (linked below) for a decade now, and despite the extreme abuse I’ve endured, it just won’t die. And when one day I manage to kill him by knocking him off my roof or some nonsense, I’ll spend another $ 25 and be covered for another decade.

Essential: Chicago Electric 6 Amp reciprocating saw with variable speed rotating handle

Advanced: SKILSAW heavy duty reciprocating saw


circular saw

If you decide that you will need more finesse than a reciprocating saw has to offer, a circular saw is the next logical step. It can easily cut and tear and can be quite accurate when paired with the correct jigs and guides.

Essential: 7-1 / 4 inch BLACK + DECKER circular saw

Advanced: BOSCH 18V 6-1 / 2 inch. Circular saw kit


Miter saw

While a miter saw can’t do as many things as a circular saw, it cuts much faster and more accurately, which is a godsend when tackling larger projects like installing laminate flooring or finishing work. If you are planning to devote yourself to woodworking, a high-end model is a very worthwhile investment.

Essential: Warrior 7-1 / 4 inches. Single compound bevel miter saw

Advanced: Metabo HPT MultiVolt 36V sliding miter saw


Oscillating tool

An oscillating tool isn’t the kind of thing you’ll use every day, but when you need it, there’s really no substitute. The ability to cut a variety of materials, sand in corners and plunge cuts can really come in handy.

Essential: 3.5 Amp Rockwell Oscillating Multi-Tool

Advanced: DeWalt 20V MAX XR Oscillating Multitool Kit


Spatula

If your house has drywall, and let’s face it, it probably does, at some point you’ll need to repair a dent or hole. Enter the spatula, a simple tool that cannot be replaced by anything else. In addition to drywall repair, it’s also great for scraping paint, opening small access panels, and getting anything dirty off the garage floor.

Essential: Warner 1-1 / 4 ″ DIY stiff putty trowel

Advanced: ROLLINGDOG Set of 5 putty knife


Hammer

The Humble Hammer: Perfect for hanging pictures, demolishing your decaying deck, building your new deck, making a tree house for the kids, then rebuilding the deck when the treehouse tree falls in a storm . Good home!

Essential: CRAFTSMANSHIP 16 oz. Fiberglass hammer

Advanced: Estwing Hammertooth Hammer


Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools that we find essential in our daily shop work. We may receive a commission from sales reported by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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